Articles

Lifetime Alcohol, Cannabis Use Disorders Highly Prevalent in U.S.

Lifetime Alcohol, Cannabis Use Disorders Highly Prevalent in U.S.

Posted on March 26th, 2014

Alcohol use disorder and cannabis use disorder are the diagnoses used to identify people affected, respectively, by problems with alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence (alcoholism) and abuse or addiction associated with the use of marijuana, hashish or hashish oil. In a study published in March 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers from two affiliated U.S. universities used information gathered from a large-scale, ongoing project called the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to determine how many young adults in the U.S. have developed either of these conditions at some point in their lifetimes.

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Do Hangovers Change Behaviors of Frequent Drinkers?

Do Hangovers Change Behaviors of Frequent Drinkers?

Posted on March 25th, 2014

Hangover is the common term for the group of unpleasant sensations that can appear in the aftermath of the consumption of significant amounts of alcohol. Current evidence suggests that susceptibility to these sensations may play an important role in any given person’s chances of developing diagnosable symptoms of alcohol-related problems. In a study scheduled for 2014 publication in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers from three U.S. universities sought to determine if the presence of hangovers alters the drinking behaviors of people who consume alcohol on a frequent basis.

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How to Talk to Children About Addiction in the Family

How to Talk to Children About Addiction in the Family

Posted on March 24th, 2014

In families with a significant track record of substance addiction, parents face additional challenges when it comes to educating their children about drugs and alcohol. But by warning young people about their family history of addiction, is it possible to actually increase their risk of substance abuse?

Many studies over the years have confirmed that genetic predisposition plays a significant role in who becomes addicted and who does not. Research is only beginning to explore the possible genetic variations that may be at the root of this increased risk, but the existence of a genetic predisposition is well documented.

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Can We Simplify the Definition of Substance Use Disorder?

Can We Simplify the Definition of Substance Use Disorder?

Posted on March 21st, 2014

Substance use disorder is the term used by the American Psychiatric Association to officially define both substance addiction and clinically significant substance abuse. Since May 2013, doctors in the U.S. have begun using this term when diagnosing their patients. In order to receive a substance use disorder diagnosis, an individual must meet a certain set of relatively detailed criteria. In a study published in December 2013 in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, a multinational research team looked at what happens when a single criterion—heavy substance intake—replaces the more complicated definition currently in use.

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How Do Substance Use and Incarceration Predict Risks for Mortality?

How Do Substance Use and Incarceration Predict Risks for Mortality?

Posted on March 20th, 2014

In the U.S. and many other countries, people who get released from incarceration in a prison die at a significantly higher rate than people who never go to prison. In many cases, substance use plays an important role in bringing about the deaths of these individuals. In a study published in October 2013 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers from Sweden’s Lund University sought to determine which specific substance use-related factors either act as a cause of death or increase a previously incarcerated person’s chances of dying prematurely.

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Street Names for Common Drugs

Street Names for Common Drugs

Posted on March 19th, 2014

If you’re having a hard time keeping up with the many street names for common illegal drugs, you’re not alone. After all, they were created to confuse, divert and otherwise dodge the suspicions of law enforcement, parents and teachers.

Some street names have entered the common vocabulary, while countless others remain obscure. Even so, a working knowledge of the most commonly used street names for the most popular illegal drugs can be very useful, especially if you suspect that someone in your care is using drugs.

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Study Yields New Leads for Anti-Addiction Medications

Study Yields New Leads for Anti-Addiction Medications

Posted on March 18th, 2014

Cocaine is one of the most habit-forming drugs on the illicit market. It sits up there with heroin and meth in terms of how quickly and how strongly it can hijack the brain of an abuser. With the very first snort, a person using cocaine is setting the stage for a craving to do it again. Treating addiction to cocaine has long been a challenge, but as researchers begin to untangle everything that cocaine does in the human brain, we get closer to an effective, medical treatment. A medical treatment could be a valuable addition to the counselors and therapists that already help so many addicts.

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First-Time Drug Users Favor Marijuana

First-Time Drug Users Favor Marijuana

Posted on March 17th, 2014

Drug of abuse is a term that doctors, researchers, public health officials and law enforcement officials use to describe a wide range of legal and illegal substances that can produce diagnosable symptoms of substance abuse or substance addiction in repeated users. As part of a yearly project called the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration tracks the substances that first-time drug users are most likely to try. Information from this survey is also used to track the average age of users who initiate their drug intake with specific types of substances.

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What Factors Help Determine Teens’ Susceptibility to Substance-Using Peers?

What Factors Help Determine Teens’ Susceptibility to Substance-Using Peers?

Posted on March 14th, 2014

Substance abuse and addiction specialists are well aware that the influences of a teenager’s peer group go a long way toward determining if he or she gets involved in substance use. However, they also understand — at least in broad terms — that other factors can make an adolescent more or less responsive to pro-substance peer pressure. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, Canadian researchers from the University of Montreal examined some of the factors that can potentially diminish teenagers’ willingness to use substances, even in the face of peer influences that favor the consumption of drugs or alcohol.

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prescription painkillers

Prescription Painkillers Linked to Addiction in All Ages

Posted on March 13th, 2014

Stereotypes of drug addiction are changing. People may expect that an addiction started due to drugs being passed around at a high school party, or a young adult’s drug-laced family environment drew them in. But today it’s just as likely that a craving began due to surgery experienced by an older person.

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woman with cocaine addiction

Regular Cocaine Use Appears to Damage Social Skills

Posted on March 12th, 2014

Often, the very problem a person is attempting to escape through substance abuse can become magnified through their habit. In the case of cocaine, a new study indicates that chronic users harm their ability to interact socially. In which case the person seeking to intensify life’s experiences winds up isolating themselves from one of life’s key joys – social contact.

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depressed teenage girl

Parsing Teen Depression Risks from Normal Teen Behavior

Posted on March 7th, 2014

During adolescence kids behave in ways that cause parents to scratch their heads. A sulky attitude, an insatiable hunger and a preference for friends over family are just a few of the traits that make parents wonder if their child has been brainwashed or abducted by aliens. Many of these behaviors are developmentally normal. However, some behaviors that are typical of teens may, in combination, point to a potential mental health challenge.

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parents and kids drinking together

How Do Genes and Parental Rules Influence Teen Drinking?

Posted on March 6th, 2014

Teen drinking is a fairly common activity in the U.S., despite its illegality and harmful impact on adolescent health and well-being. In a significant number of cases, people who start drinking heavily during their teenage years continue to drink heavily during adulthood and develop medically serious alcohol-related problems. In a study published in 2013 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, a group of Dutch researchers investigated the role of two factors—genetic predisposition and parental rule-setting—in either increasing or decreasing any given teen’s likelihood of beginning a pattern of heavy alcohol consumption.

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